Australian businesses report widespread impacts from COVID-19 in March


The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the results of the first Business Impacts of COVID-19 survey as part of a series of additional product releases over the coming months to help measure the economic impact of coronavirus.

This release provides information on the prevalence and nature of adverse impacts from COVID-19 experienced by businesses operating in Australia in mid-March 2020.

Approximately half of the Australian businesses surveyed (49%) had experienced an adverse impact as a result of COVID-19 during the mid-March data collection period and 86% of businesses expected to be impacted in future months. The collection period pre-dated the Australian Government’s announcement of Phase 1 Social Distancing Measures.

Adverse impacts were most prevalent in Accommodation & food services with over three quarters of businesses (78%) already reporting impacts and 96% of businesses reporting that they expected impacts in coming months. Businesses in Professional, scientific & technical services (21%), Electricity, gas and water supply (34%) and businesses in Mining (37%) were the least likely to have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 in the collection period.

A reduction in local demand was the most common impact experienced (82%) and was also the most common impact expected in coming months (81%). Of impacted businesses, over a third had experienced staff shortages (36%) and 59% expected to experience staff shortages in coming months.

Further information is available in Business Indicators, Business Impacts of COVID-19 (cat. no. 5676.0.55.003).

Media note

  • The additional ABS products being published to understand the economic impact of the coronavirus can be found on a dedicated page.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source,
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Communications and Partnerships Section on 1300 175 070 (8:30am - 5:00pm Mon-Fri),

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